Procedure Directions

Capsule Enteroscopy

Capsule enteroscopy is a fairly recently developed technique in which the small intestine is imaged. The small intestine begins just past the stomach and ends in the colon or large bowel. Its length varies but can be as long as nine feet. Prior to this procedure, camera images of the entire small bowel were possible only during surgical operations. This technique is non-invasive and is done as an outpatient. It employs a pill-sized disposable camera which is swallowed by the patient. A special vest is worn by the patient for about eight hours, during which he or she is free to walk about outside of the medical facility. The vest is actually a receiving device which records video pictures taken by the capsule camera. At the conclusion of the study, the patient returns the vest and the images are transferred to a computer. A gastroenterologist then views the images on the computer screen. Gastroenterologists are best suited to view and interpret these images because they have extensive training and experience with diseases of the small bowel. The capsule passes easily through the GI tract and is flushed away.

Capsule enteroscopy allows the gastroenterologist to accurately view the entire small intestine to help diagnose problems in this area. Diseases which can arise in the small intestine include Crohn’s disease, tumors and bleeding sites. This test is commonly used when a patient has anemia of unknown cause and subtle bleeding is suspected in the small bowel. This test does not examine the colon or large bowel and is not a substitute for colonoscopy. Preparation for this test does include cleansing the bowel the night before. This procedure only provides images of the small bowel and therefore does not allow biopsies to be taken or endoscopic therapy to be provided.

B. Jeffrey Wallis, M.D., P.A. - Colonoscopy, EGD, Liver, ERCP

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